How To Write A Day Off Work Request Email (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 14, 2021
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Taking a break is a normal part of maintaining work-life balance.

However, many professionals find it intimidating or awkward to send a vacation request email to their employer.

Still, it’s necessary to inform your supervisor, as not doing so can reflect poorly on your professionalism and cause you problems further down the line.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you should always write a vacation request email and how to do so. You’ll also learn useful tips, as well as read samples to help you draft your own.

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Why You Should Always Write a Vacation Request Email

Writing a clear and informative vacation request email to your supervisor works to your advantage as well as your team’s.

The benefits include:

  • Improves your chances. If you ask your boss for time off later rather than sooner, there’s a higher chance that they’ll turn down your request.

    With such a short time window, they likely won’t be able to delegate your tasks to another team member.

    Your supervisor also likely won’t appreciate the short notice you’ve given them.

    If you had instead asked for time off ahead of time in a direct and friendly manner, most individuals would feel bad turning down such a request.

  • Lessens the burden on your team. Just because you aren’t at work doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have to do your duties.

    If you inform your team of your vacation weeks in advance, they’ll be able to split the tasks appropriately.

    If you leave all of a sudden, then one or two team members may be forced to carry the entire workload.

    It’s better to avoid such a scenario, for their sake as well as your working relationship with them once you return.

  • Documentation. It’s important to document any approvals that you receive in the workplace.

    Things can often go wrong, and you don’t want to find yourself in a position where it’s your word against someone else’s.

    Having written proof that your vacation time was approved is just a prudent way to protect yourself against any potential problems.

  • Benefits your career in the future. Writing an effective leave request is part of establishing a communicative and professional reputation.

    If you’re consistently respectful of others, your boss will remember it when it comes time to give raises and promotions.

    Even after you leave your present job, you want this to be something positive that your employer can cite if they’re called as a reference.

    Not notifying your employer of your intent to take time off, on the other hand, can lead to disciplinary action or even termination.

    In that case, you’ll end up having to write an excuse letter for absence anyway.

How to Write an Email To Ask for Time Off

Writing a professional vacation request email isn’t nearly as tricky or intimidating as some believe it to be.

Every such email should be concise yet inform the reader of everything they need to know.

Here are the steps to guide you along:

  1. Write a brief, direct subject line. A good rule of thumb for professional emails, in general, is that the recipient should be able to understand the point of the email before opening it.

    Write a short line that states the purpose of your email and the dates you wish to take off.

    At a large company, you should consider including your last name in the subject line so that the reader can quickly identify who you are.

  2. State why you’re writing. After your greeting, you should immediately state that the purpose of your email is to request time off.

    Also, mention if you’ve already approached your boss about the request.

  3. Include the dates that you’re requesting. Mention which dates you intend to take off either in the first line of your email or the beginning paragraph.

    Make sure that these dates match those you included in the subject line.

    It’s also smart to mention how many days you’re using if your company practices an accrued time off policy.

    Doing so shows that you understand your employer’s policies, as well as helps them update your information.

  4. Mention why you’re taking time off (optional). If you just want to take a quick break from work or a personal day, then this section isn’t necessary.

    However, if there are personal issues or extenuating circumstances that demand your attention, then indicating such can help your supervisor decide whether to approve your time off.

    Of course, you don’t need to go into detail. Just mentioning that you need to address family issues or deal with an illness should be enough.

  5. Discuss how you’re preparing. Make sure to explain how you’re preparing ahead of time to ease the burden of your absence off of the company.

    This helps convey your sense of professionalism and improves the chances that your request for time off will be approved.

    Tell them that you’re working diligently to ensure all your work affairs are completed before you leave. You’re aware of all deadlines and have made all preparations necessary to meet them despite your temporary leave of absence.

  6. Make yourself available for questions. It’s a professional courtesy to tell your employer to feel free to reach out to you for any questions or discussions regarding your time off.

    Doing so promotes open communication between both parties.

Tips for Writing a Vacation Request Email

While you’re writing your email to request time off, make sure to consider these important tips:

  • Ask your supervisor in person first. Discussing your plans with your boss and having a back and forth helps you come to an agreement on the best way to take your vacation.

    You can discuss the most convenient dates for you to leave, alternative work options, and other relevant topics.

    If you’re looking to take time off at a job you just started, then you absolutely need to discuss your plans with your boss in person.

    There are plenty of reasons for taking a break right after accepting a job offer. However, not approaching the situation delicately can set an unprofessional first impression and tarnish your working relationship with the company moving forward.

    Speaking face-to-face with someone is always the best way to help them empathize and understand your situation.

  • Give as much advance notice as possible. Leave as much time as possible for your employer and team to prepare for your absence.

    If you’re planning to leave for a few days, notifying your supervisor a few weeks ahead of time should be enough.

    If you intend to take a long vacation (one workweek or more), you should give notice at least two months in advance.

    Of course, if you need to take sudden sick leave, it’s fine to notify your employer the day before or even the morning of your day off.

  • Research your company’s paid time off (PTO) policy. Before you write a vacation request email, make sure you understand how your company’s leave policies work.

    Reach out to your supervisor or human resources department if you can’t find these policies in the employee handbook.

  • Write a follow-up email. Even if you already discussed your time off with your boss in person, you should write a formal follow-up email to document the occasion.

    This way, you can receive written confirmation of your vacation details in case you need to refer back to it in the future.

  • Send a reminder email. Since it’s recommended to send a leave request email weeks or months ahead of time, it’s also prudent to send one right before you intend to leave.

    This prevents the possibility of your supervisor being caught off surprise after such a long period of time.

Sample Vacation Request Emails

Here are some sample vacation request emails of varying types to help you get started with drafting your own. Take note of how these emails follow the structure that we laid out earlier.

Formal Vacation Request Email Example

Subject line: Vacation Request March 12-26 – David Dail

Dear Tim,

I’m writing this email as a formal request for two weeks’ vacation from Monday, March 12th through Monday, March 26th. I will return to the office on Tuesday, March 27th.

As we discussed last week, I am working hard to complete all my duties before I leave. I know that our project deadline is in April, so I finished most of my upcoming tasks ahead of time so as not to set us behind in schedule.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. My work email is, and my phone number is (444) 555 8282.

Thank you for considering my request.

Best Regards,
David Dail

Formal Vacation Request Reminder Example

Subject line: Vacation Reminder March 12-26 – David Dail

Dear Tim,

As we discussed last month, I will be out of the office from Monday, March 12th through Monday, March 26th. I just wanted to offer a reminder so as not to catch you by surprise.

I’ve closely examined our project schedule to ensure that I’ve completed all tasks assigned to me. I’ve also finished my upcoming duties for the next two weeks ahead of schedule, so we should be progressing as planned in terms of meeting the project deadline.

Of course, I will still be available by phone at (444) 555 8283 and by email at in case you need to reach out. Thank you.

Best Regards,
David Dail

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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